Stop Blaming Games

Yet again, games are in the firing line and now I’m getting really angry.

First off, what am I playing at the moment…

Last weekend, I took great pleasure in punishing my enemies with a stake gun, a shotgun and my current favourite the multifunction circular saw with functions called ‘Pain’ and ‘Killer’. I am of course, currently playing my way through the top game ‘PainKiller’.

For those who don’t know (most likely the same people who want to see all but the tamest of games banned) you play the part of Daniel (IIRC), a guy who died in a car crash. He has one or two ghosts in his closet so he’s trapped in a world between heaven and hell, trying to stop Lucifers armies in the hope that he will be reunited with his girlfriend/wife.

Nice story. Brutal game. And you know what, I absolutely love the satisfying squelch when a stake punches its way through your enemies chest or head and pins them to the wall like a discarded ragdoll… all limp and lifeless. If you’re lucky, they explode.. body parts flying in all directions, blood splattering around the place.

Before this, I was killing my colleagues in Doom 3… well… when I say colleagues I mean the zombies/demons/aliens that WERE my colleagues… great fun pulling the shotgun out and blowing holes in them.

Before that, I was killing aliens in Quake 4 and before that, militia (I think – not really got that far into the story yet) in FarCry… great fun… sneaking through the jungle, jumping out and popping them off.

Ok, I’m sure you get the point… I’m a gamer… have been for a long time (since the introduction of home computers around 1981/82) and here’s the astonishing fact… I have NEVER once been tempted to shoot someone, beat them up, run them over, race my car around the streets of my home town or anything else that maybe depicted in games. Why? Because I know that a game is a game and reality is reality and that the difference is, in reality there are consequences… consequences you have to live with.

And why do I know this… because my parents paid attention to what I was doing on the computer… I could only play games they allowed me to until I was old enough to understand things… of course one of the main differences between then and now is the realism that can be achieved with games… Doom 3 scares me… thats why its rated 18. Notice… 18… scarey, gorey content with lots of blood… rated 18 meaning its only suitable for adults.

So, if you are a parent or guardian and you let your kids play games that are rated to old for them… you are poor parents and you are failing in your social responsibilties.

Thats where I stand… I’m an adult gamer and I know the difference between reality and a work of fiction/fantasy, so please stop trying to ban games designed by adults for adults. We like playing games too you know and I really don’t want to be playing kids games all the time.

Onto the story… the banning of Manhunt 2 by the BBFC… this is outrageous. Keith Vaz is getting on the bandwagon (as usual) and the media still haven’t got the facts straight. Every time Manhunt is mentioned, the story is linked to the 14 year old boy who was muredered by a ‘friend’ (I’ll use the term loosesly) in a manner that his mother claims was inspired by the original Manhunt. This led to it being withdrawn from most games stores in the UK. The facts of the case are that actually it wasn’t the murderer who owned the game… it was the victim (14 years old playing a game that was rated 18 – How did that come about? Did his parents not monitor what their CHILD was doing?) Furthermore, there was no evidence to suggest that the murderer had ever played it.

Its terrible that her son was murdered, but to blame an ADULT game being played by a CHILD (NOT the murderer) is absolutely absurd. Of course the media saw the equation Adult game + Kid = Murderer and thats was that… Manhunt was doomed, even though they got the facts wrong… and to this day, the correct facts are never mentioned.

So, once again… DO NOT BAN GAMES – Instead, do the following:-

  • Ensure they are correctly certified
  • Ensure that the people selling the games only sell them to people who (according to the classification) are allowed to play them
  • If you are a parent, monitor the games/films etc. your children watch/play. Don’t expect that this responsibility can be put on someone elses shoulders
  • Come to the realisation that banning something will only make some people want it more
  • Don’t treat adult gamers like children – We are ADULTS afterall and are quite capable of deciding whether or not we want to play a game

Now, this (along with a story about Law and Order : Double or Nothing being dragged over the coals because it apparently includes an image that could be a still of the CCTV showing Jamie Bulger being abducted and the story about Manchester Cathedral being used without permission by Sony) has prompted some interesting comments on the BBC’s Have Your Say.

Overall, the posts are similar to what I’m saying… adult gamers want adult games to play. We aren’t children, we are generally well adjusted and we are more than capable of realising that games aren’t reality and that in the real world there are consequences.


Story Links:-
Manhunt 2 banned by censors

Edit: Link to have your say no longer works (January 3rd 2010)
BBC Have Your Say – Have games gone too far? (http://newsforums.bbc.co.uk/nol/thread.jspa?threadID=6610&sortBy=1)

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